Today the world is shrinking. We have the ability to connect on numerous levels, via multiple platforms with people across the globe instantaneously. We have the ability to see the way people from a variety of cultural backgrounds live and we can interact with these new cultures in ways that would have been unimaginable 100 years ago. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. As we see the struggles that others go through on a daily basis, it seems only natural that we want to help. Maxine Bedat is one of a new breed of entrepreneurs who are making that decision to help that much easier.
Maxine and her childhood friend Soraya founded Zady.com; a website dedicated to providing high quality goods that defy the trend of cheap, throw away fashion but also Zady has partnered with the nonprofit The Bootstrap Project, which was also created by Maxine and Soraya. With every purchase made at Zady, a portion of the proceeds go towards providing an artisan in the developing world the funds they need to start their own business.
"As we were looking at the supply chain globally, we saw human rights abuses just endemic." Maxine explained to Deepak Chopra when they recently sat down on Newswire.fm's program One World. "When a global company makes an order, they don't know actually who they are outsourcing the production to." There is always a middleman. Factories can then subcontract orders to other factories and suddenly there is no oversight and standards for working conditions and safety disappear.
"The impetus with Zady was to shine a light on those issues and to provide an alternative."
The relationship between Zady and The Bootstrap Project has allowed Maxine and Soraya to focus on changing the garment industry on several different levels both at home and in the developing world. The Bootstrap Project serves as an aid in reviving craft traditions that would otherwise be extinguished by cheaper and faster versions that can be mass produced and Zady has allowed consumers to buy quality products and while taking heart in the fact that they are part of the solution rather than the problem with today's fashion industry.
Maxine and Soraya are making it easier for consumers to make the right choices. They have created a business model that allows consumers to continue buying products that they love and can feel good about the way they were created and what their dollars are supporting. Fashion with a conscience at every level. It is a new form of consumerism that we can only hope will spread.